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2014 Wharf to Wharf

Me, after finishing and starting back up to meet my husband

Me, after finishing and starting back up to meet my husband

There were two things that I signed up for this year to keep me motivated and moving. The first was the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon, and the second was the Santa Cruz Wharf to Wharf. Last year I didn’t sign up for any runs, and therefore, did no training and gained 30 pounds.

Well, it did nothing for the first half of the year to motivate me but as the race loomed closer, I realized I needed to suck it up and start something. The last time I did the Wharf to Wharf was two years ago, and I was so ill prepared that by the time I finished I was in tears and just broken. The same applies for the last 1/2 marathon as well. So three weeks ago I started training again. What I discovered is that the 30-pound gain and lack of general exercise for the last year and a half have made an impact in my timing. I can no longer punch out a two miler in a half an hour on my lunch break. In fact, I can barely get above a fast power walk at all anymore. That shouldn’t shock me. I’m not dumb enough to think that I could just pick up where I left off after all the time off, but it was a blow to my ego just the same.

So while I have kept at my training the last three weeks I was kind of discouraged. Especially since this last week was pretty painful for me in my lower back on my walks. I was pretty sure I was going to fail at this run miserably. I was picturing me stopping at the mile 4.5 mark where my husband was playing with his drummer friend for the race. Or worse, just giving up before that and sitting down, waiting for the bus to come get me in the end.

The back pain was specific to the left side of my lower back. That usually means my pelvis is tilted again, so I made an appt with my chiropractor on Friday night after work and got adjusted. Saturday I didn’t run because I had rehearsal and then went to bed super early because I had to get up so early the next morning. You see since my husband was playing the race, he had to get there really early before they blocked off the streets. That meant I had to be in the shower at four this morning so he could drop me off at the start line before heading out and setting up for the gig. Yeah, that kind of sucks because that meant that not only did I have to get there very early and sit around for hours, but I also had to run the race and then double back after getting my goodie bag, another 1.5 miles to get back to him so we could go home. It seems a bit extreme, but I’ve done the route where I finish and take the bus back to the car and believe it or not, it’s quicker and less painful just to walk back to the 4.5-mile mark.

Anyhoo cut to this morning. I woke up a bundle of anxiety. I really didn’t want to do the race because I had convinced myself it was going to be painful and horrible, and I would never finish it. I showered and got ready anyway. I vowed that even if I had to just walk it slowly, I would.

Rob dropped me off as it was just starting to get light out, and I walked about five more minutes to get to the boardwalk. I found a cafe that was open, so I grabbed a yogurt parfait and took a seat outside. That is where I stayed for the next two hours playing on my phone and people watching.

When we got closer to 8:30, I got into my corral but we didn’t start moving until at least 8:50 or so. The first two miles were really tough, which is kind of ironic since that is the most distance I had been getting in on my weekdays. You would think it would get harder AFTER two miles.

As I have found with most races I have done, once I hit the three-mile mark I was hitting my stride. Once I settle into my stride it just becomes a different mindset. The first two miles I just kept thinking: “Oh dear Lord, this is never going to work. I’m so tired already; there is no way I can make it another mile!” After mile three I think I relaxed a little bit, and I realized that I had made it that far, I could finish. It felt like it got easier.

Long story short, I finished and then made it back the 1.5 miles to find my husband already packed up and waiting in the van. I was in good spirits. I didn’t cry, even cracked a joke and shocked the heck out of my husband.

I’ve been back home for a couple hours now, and a sunburn has begun to redden my skin, but other than that, some minor chafing and a couple of popped blisters on my left foot/toes, I seem to be okay. Much better than the last time I did it.

Things I did differently this year:

  • I didn’t push myself. 
    • I walked 90% of this race and was totally okay with that.  I managed an 18 minute mile average.
  • I listened to an audio book on tape instead of music.
    • For the first time ever in my walk/run history, I didn’t listen to music. I downloaded the sequel that Stephen King wrote to The Shining and listened to that as I walked. It was a little weird at first, and I think that is why the first two miles were a little hard. Once I got into the meat of the story I was able to get my mind off how many more miles I had to go and let myself get lost in the tale.
    • I think the disadvantage to this is that since I normally walk to a certain BPM, I walked slower than I normally would have.
  • I had taken an Advil right before I got into my corral.
    • I have no idea if this helped or not but I DO know that my back didn’t hurt at all this race. Even going uphill, and it ALWAYS hurts going up hill. It could be because I got my adjustment right before the race. It could be because I had my hydration belt on, and it was tight, thus serving as some sort of support. All I know is that for the first time in a long time my back didn’t hurt during a walk, so I’m going to stick with the Advil from now on.

Overall, I’m happy to report that I did much better than I thought I was going to.  In endurance anyway, this race was not about a time for me to finish by, simply to finish at all.

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